Indian actress-filmmaker Nandita Das says she is disappointed that her film “Manto” will not be releasing in Pakistan.
“Disappointed that ‘Manto’ will not be seen in theatres in Pakistan. I was keen as he belongs to both countries equally,” Nandita tweeted on Saturday.
With “Manto”, Nandita traced the life of writer Saadat Hasan Manto. Nawazuddin Siddiqui had brought the character to life.
The film followed the most tumultuous years in the life of Manto and those of India and Pakistan where Manto inhabited and chronicled. The film starred Rasika Dugal as Manto’s wife along with Tahir Raj Bhasin, Rishi Kapoor and Divya Dutta in key roles.
Nandita also shared link of an article — which she penned for a news website, explaining why the film won’t be crossing borders.
“I just got the news that ‘Manto’ was not passed by their Censor Board. The reasons cited are that ‘the film has anti-Partition narrative theme and explicit scenes, which is against the norms of Pakistani society’,” she wrote.
The “Firaaq” maker knows that she won’t get an opportunity to present her “case to the Pakistani Censor Board”.
“In the last six years that I have been working on ‘Manto’, not only his family but many others in Pakistan have been waiting anxiously to see it on the big screen. So while this explanation is in defence of freedom, it is also for them.”
Manto, who died in 1955 at the age of 43, penned an impressive body of work touching various genres.
He churned out about 22 collections of stories comprising a novel, essays, personal sketches and movie scripts. Out of his literary gems was a story on Mirza Ghalib, a poet who is often compared with the stature of William Shakespeare. His work also gained attention for weaving stories around the ordeal of partition as well as sexuality.
“Manto”, co-produced by HP Studios, Filmstoc and Viacom18 Motion Pictures, was the only Indian film in Un Certain Regard category at 71st Cannes Film Festival. The film released in India in September this year.
“‘Manto’ had to fight for his freedom of expression 70 years ago and many of us are having to do the same today,” said the actress, who garnered critical acclaim with films like “Earth” and “Bawandar”.